I'm currently reading Karen Joy Fowler's novel The Jane Austen Book Club and it's a perfectly fun, light novel. It has all sorts of enthusiastic recommendations on the cover from reasonably respectable sources such as The Times ('stylish') and The Independent ('wonderful'). The characters make some fairly insightful comments about Jane Austen's books and the plot is coming along nicely. All up, I'm liking this book, however my problem comes from the cover which, in Australia at least, is lemon yellow with the title in embossed gold lettering and some pastel, cartoonish chairs on it. Yes, I seem to have drifted into the dreaded 'chick-lit' territory.
I must be a terrible snob but somehow I don't want people to think I'm reading chick-lit (even the name is offensive, surely no-one uses the term 'chick' anymore?). Somehow the genre conjures up images of desperate single women looking for 'Mr Right' and the perfect pair of shoes. Bleh. But since I avoid actually reading chick-lit, maybe I'm totally misjudging it. In fact, maybe I'm kidding myself when I presume that The Jane Austen Book Club has been mis-marketed and is actually much more sophisticated than its pastel cover would suggest. Maybe it IS chick-lit. It's about women, after all, and relationships, and everyone's outfits are described in detail. Now I'm totally confused. Should I be embarrassed by the pastel cover? Am I a ridiculous snob? And am I actually reading a chick-lit novel after all??